13:42 16 April 2022
Challenger Tom Bradys is given the opportunity to pack the pads, buckle up his helmet, and hit the American football field.
The University of East Anglia (UEA) is hosting an open day and teenagers are welcome to stop by and try the sport.
The team, the UEA Pirates, is hosting an open day on April 20 and providing the opportunity to face off against some of the best players in the country.
Nigel Hadley, head coach of the Pirates, said: “When it started in 1987 it was very much a participation sport, so you got into playing.
“Even though it was structured and available, there wasn’t a lot of practice going on – but it’s come such a long way since then.
“Myself and some of the other coaches have changed the culture and taken things to a different level.
“Thanks to the support of the UEA and the Sportspark, we now have a lot of very committed players.”
Nigel started as a positional coach nine years ago, moved up to coordinator and has served as head coach for the past three years.
He said: “Although we still have a long way to go, players really want to improve their game and be the best they can be.
“We have so much more in terms of facilities now – strength and conditioning, nutrition, physio – everything you would expect from a big organization.
“UEA also has a scholarship program that can provide enhanced support, such as a free gym membership.”
While the game is still quite specialized in the city, the National Football League (NFL) boom has increased the sport’s notoriety.
The 54-year-old coach was also able to pull some strings and secured a match with the NFL Academy, which offers student athletes aged 16 to 19 the opportunity to train intensively in the sport, under the guidance of coaches. full-time professionals.
Nigel added, “I think the NFL as an entity in itself has raised tremendous awareness.
“We hope this will encourage more people to participate – all of the coaching staff here are very keen to help students thrive and enjoy the game.”